Stroboskop is pleased to present Trouble at Home, a series of new works by Bean Gilsdorf. This will be the American artist’s first solo exhibition in Warsaw. Using pictures found in comic books and mass-market history books, Gilsdorf creates textile sculptures and wall hangings that investigate political and cultural icons, and the historical image as subject.
For Trouble at Home, Gilsdorf draws sardonic connections between symbolic models of male authority and the individuals that have become repositories for them—in this case, Ronald Reagan, Elvis Presley, and Superman. The images of these men can be understood as part of a system of representation that references a mythologized, paternalistic past; men of a fictionalized ‘bygone’ era that embody an oppressive, unattainable ideal. By excising and manipulating parts of the body (such as an iconic hairstyle or hypermasculine comic-book fists) and reprinting these onto textiles that are then sewn into soft sculptures, Gilsdorf pushes this imagery to the edge of legibility.
The yielding materiality of the sculptures distorts the original images, offering cultural commentary overlaid with a sense of the absurd—half-inflated visages and body parts bulge and collapse grotesquely, manifesting the aspirations and anxieties encoded into these figures. Complementing the sculptures are a pair of wall-hung works that dissect the vernacular of images continually fed to a public hungry for symbols that validate the aspirational dreams of America.